Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday Reflections

Yesterday I talked about how our culture is spiritually hungry and desperately looking for authentic Christians. Yet in this time of spiritual hunger the church is declining. Not because the church won’t accommodate the culture, many churches are changing things to make things more appealing. Despite their attempt to please, many churches have nempty seats and little impact on people’s lives. Why aren’t people looking to the church? There are several answers to this question, but I think it all boils down to the fact the world looks at the church and sees people who cheat in their businesses, cheat on their spouses, they see people who gossip (I mean prayer request), and character assassinate, jump from bed to bed, get drunk, do drugs and complain as much as they do.

George Barna reported “Of more than 70 moral behaviours we study, when we compare Christians to non-Christians we rarely find substantial differences.” Ask any non believer what comes to mind when they think of Christian, the most common answer is “judgmental” even though Jesus said that he came into the world not to judge it, but save it!

In a word, they see hypocrites. People who say they have been changed and yet behave just like the rest of the world day in and day out. We really don’t practice what we preach! And yet, as I look at what the scripture teaches I see that we need to go out of our way to lead people to experience GOD, but now in that process maybe we need to redefine what it means to be a believer?

Sometimes I wonder if we make our faith simply a religion and we conveniently leave Jesus out of the picture? I wonder if we all need to be reminded that Jesus invited people into a relationship, a journey, that he invited us to have our spiritual thirst quenched?
What are your thoughts?


She... said...

I hesitate to post, as I haven't heard yesterday's message yet. We'll see if I have to recant some of my post after I do so!

Y'know... there are a few things that hit my heart in this post.

I agree - the church is, indeed, full of hypocrites.

I agree - when I was resisting God's pull to come back, I cried "hypocrites!" to anyone who would listen as an excuse to not go to church - or rather, become a part of a Christian community.

I am very grateful that when I was at my most hypocritical (and even hyper-critical) that people showed me love and acceptance anyways.

The response that changed my way of thinking to the "the church is full of hypocrites" excuse was hearing someone say: "Yes, indeed it is. Not to worry, though, there's always room for one more!"

On top of that, I'm not sure one could create any community, whether it is stamp collectors, remote-control plane flyers, bowlers or what have you, without the same percentage of people who aren't "following the rules" of the club.

It seems that the best way to deal with the hypocrite situation is to find a way to accept it and not have it reflect on Christ but rather on 'being human.'

I dissagree, though, that the reason why people aren't seeking out Jesus/Christianity is because of hypocritical people in the church. I think it is because there is no visibly accessible way for them to step through the door. The closest thing to a Sunday morning service in "the world" is going to see a self-help seminar. That would be an awkward invite at best to someone who wasn't all that into self-help. :)

In my opinion, and I am just a girl - not the biggest visionary at getting people involved - I would need some sort of event that interested someone outside of self-help to get them to come for enough length of time to build some relationships with people who were accepting of them and interested in them regardless of their views on church/Christ/Christianity.

For instance - I know of one young gentleman who when considering the invite he had to play hockey with the Soul fellas said: "I don't know. I'm sure they won't like me. I'm sure they'll just think I'm bad."

He was assured that he would be accepted, and you know what? He was. No insta-conversion in his life. But he sure looks forward to playing hockey with the guys! That seems to me like the way to make a 'visibly accessible door.'

Bah! All this posting makes me want to get involved! Yeesh! Seems like a good point at which to stop! ;-)

Karen said...

The world desperately needs authentic christians, but I'm not sure that the world is actually desperately looking for them. I question whether people look for something that they don't believe even exists.

Holly Hamm said...

God has really been laying on my heart lately to love as he loves. As I continually learn how to do this I am amazed at how much the love of Jesus can change and move things/people. It's such a simple thing but has huge effects on every part of our lives and the people around us.

Misty B said...

What about focusing on why people do come to churches and stay? I went to a church where I was allowed to sit in the shadows for a while and be. When I peaked out there were people there who were willing and able to hold my hand through it. The didn't judge me, even though I was willing to be judged if that meant I could have some kind of meaningful connection. They cared about where I was coming from. The people at the front and those who I had contact with were intentional about not using language I didn't understand or making assumptions about where I came from or my background. They cared about my hurt. They cared about my story. They cared for me.

Robert said...


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